Cities News Roundup
N.A.A.C.P. Vows Support for Busing In Chicago Schools
The general counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said this month that the civil-rights group will continue to contest a recent federal-court ruling allowing Chicago to desegregate its public schools without the use of mandatory student busing.
"We shall not allow a decision which disregards two decades of precedent to defeat our historic mission--to end racial segregation in this nation's schools and, thereby, to attack the broader separation of the races and the unequal opportunity inherent therein," said Thomas I. Atkins.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Milton I. Shadur agreed with the Department of Justice's and the city school board's contention that mandatory student busing would not help to desegregate the 436,000-student school district.
On two occasions, the naacp asked to be named an intervening plaintiff in the lawsuit, United States v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, but was denied. The association, however, is a plaintiff in a separate action, Johnson v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, which was brought by two black parents challenging a school-board policy that imposed racial quotas on enrollment in two high schools.
The Supreme Court originally agreed to hear the Johnson case, but dropped it after the city school board announced that it was dropping the quota plan in favor of a voluntary desegregation program. The suit is still pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Elsewhere, the Mississippi branch of the naacp is demanding that the Houston, Miss., public schools immediately promote a black special-education teacher and former principal to a new principalship. The group says the move would help redress 13 years of racial discrimination in the school-district's hiring policies.
The association has threatened to file suit against the district or to ask the U.S. Education Department to cut off the district's federal funds if the former principal is not promoted and if the district fails to comply with a list of additional demands.
On Dec. 6, a federal-district judge ordered the school district to promote the former principal, Warren Cousin, the next time a vacancy in the district occurs. The school district, meanwhile, has appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Group Challenges Test of Retardation In Chicago Schools
The Chicago Board of Education has been asked by a local research and child-advocacy group to suspend the retesting of more than 12,000 students classified as mildly retarded because the program is "unreliable and inadequate."
Designs for Change requested the suspension after conducting a study of the program and concluding that no objective method has been established to interpret the results of the tests, which were devised by the school system.
The district's use of testing instruments that have not been "validated" may result in the improper placement of students, according to Donald R. Moore, executive director of the organization.
Mr. Moore noted that nearly 10,000 of the 12,000 students placed in the district's program for the "educable mentally handicapped" are black, reflecting the fact that the percentage of black students placed in the program is twice that of white students. "We calculate, based on other cities, that at least 7,000, or 60 percent of the [12,000] students, do not belong in the programs and should be returned to regular classrooms," he said.
The school board is scheduled to conduct a hearing this week on the program, according to Mr. Moore. However, a spokesman for the school district said that the program is continuing and that all testing will be completed by June 1983.
Court Rule Sought On Segregation Issue In North Carolina
The Goldsboro, N.C., school sys-tem has asked a federal district court in North Carolina to determine whether an adjoining suburban school district has contributed to the segregated nature of the city's schools, and, if so, whether the suburban Wayne County district should be brought into a cross-district school-desegregation plan.
U.S. District Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. began hearing oral arguments in the lawsuit last week. In pretrial papers filed with the court, the Goldsboro School District alleged that the Wayne County School District "has continued to operate and maintain its schools in a way that perpetuates the lingering vestiges of de jure segregation" in the city's schools.
Within the past 20 years, the city schools' total enrollment has shifted from about 8,000, almost equally divided between blacks and whites, to about 5,000, almost 77 percent black. The county's schools have more than 13,000 students, of which only 32 percent are black.
The city school board says that its school-desegregation problem is compounded by the presence and growing popularity of the all-white Goldsboro Christian Schools, which now has an enrollment of 800.
That school gained notoriety last year when it joined Bob Jones University of Greenville, S.C., in a lawsuit, now before the Supreme Court, challenging the right of the federal government to deny tax-exempt status to private schools that discriminate on the basis of race.
Police To Fingerprint 1,000 N.J. Children
Elementary-school children in Union County, N.J., will line up for a novel activity this week: fingerprinting.
The program will be conducted by the county sheriff's office in an effort to reduce the number of potential runaways who cannot be identified. About 44,000 children in kindergarten through grade eight will be fingerprinted.
At first, many parents objected to the idea, said a spokesman in the state's department of education. But when they understood the purpose of the project, more than 90 percent decided to support it, the spokesman noted.
Union County, located in the center of the state, includes several cities with high crime rates and is only a short distance from New York City.
Asbestos is Found In High Percentage Of Dallas Schools
More than 75 percent of the 199 public schools in Dallas contain materials made with potentially hazardous asbestos that should be removed, according to an inspection sponsored by the city's school system.
An independent consultant found "friable"--crumbling to the touch--asbestos in ceilings and in boiler and pipe insulation. He said it poses a potential health hazard in some cases and should be removed immediately from 13 schools.
The Dallas Independent School District estimates the total cost of correcting its asbestos problem to be between $5 million and $10 million.
The school system had the inspection done last fall after an independent study commissioned by the Dallas Times Herald found friable asbestos in a number of randomly selected schools.
From the end of World War II until the early 1970's, materials containing asbestos--which, in a friable form, has been proven to cause lung cancer and other severe respiratory diseases--were commonly used for fireproofing, insulation, and decoration in many school buildings across the country.
Under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation passed last spring, every public and private school must be inspected for asbestos by June 1983.